Escape from the USSR, or the first successful hijacking of an airplane in the history of the Union

On October 15, 1970, two passengers of the Soviet An-24B aircraft seized an airplane and ordered the pilots to follow to Turkey. What was on board at that moment and how did further events develop?

It was a regular flight No. 244 en route from Batumi to Sukhumi. Two passengers, Pranas and Algirdas Brazinskas, father and son, already 5 minutes after take-off called the flight attendant and handed her a note, which the girl was supposed to transfer to the cockpit. The message contained a demand to disconnect communication with the earth and change the route, for insubordination - death.

The young stewardess was not taken aback. She managed to warn the pilots about the attack and tried to block the terrorists' way into the cockpit.

For her bravery, Nadezhda Kurchenko, a 19-year-old girl, paid with her life: she was killed with two shots at point-blank range.

In total, the bandits fired 24 shots, wounding the crew members. The elder Brazinskas sat in the cockpit, forcing them to fly to Turkey. The younger was in control of the situation in the cabin. The aircraft landed at the airport in Trabzon.

Immediately after that, the Turkish authorities arrested the terrorists. They refused to transfer them to the USSR, and at the same time they opened a criminal case. The United States soon joined in, insisting not to hand over the Brazinskas to the Union authorities. According to the court, the father received 8 years in prison, the son - 2.

The bandits were released after 2 years under an amnesty. They were unable to obtain political refugee status at the US Embassy in Turkey, after which they went to Venezuela. From there we flew to Canada, but during a stop in New York we left the airport and stayed in America. The Migration Service detained the Brazinskas, but the Lithuanian diaspora won for them the right to live in the United States. The USSR condemned this step.

In 2002, during a family scandal that erupted, Algirdas Brazinskas killed his father Pranas, for which he received a sentence for the murder.